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Activities for Grades 9–12

OUR GLOBAL KITCHEN

Our Food: Where Does it Come From? Where is it Going?
OVERVIEW
Students will learn how food is traded and transported all over the
world, and assess the advantages and disadvantages of this global
economic network. Drawing on assigned readings and information
presented in the Our Global Kitchen exhibition, students will explore
the economic, cultural, and environmental impacts of the food trade,
and offer potential solutions.
• Before Your Visit: Students will brainstorm about the original
needs to which the current global food trade developed in response,
and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of transporting food
over long distances. This brainstorming session will be followed by
reading an assignment about food distribution and transport.

NYS Social Studies Core
Curriculum:
Standard 4: Economics
The study of economics requires an
understanding of major economic
concepts and systems, the principles
of economic decision making, and the
interdependence of economies and
economic systems throughout
the world.

• During Your Visit:

o In Our Global Kitchen, students will focus on the Trade section, where they will gather evidence of the
economic and cultural impacts of the food trade, both positive and negative.

o In the Windowfarms display, students will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of local, small-scale
food production and the challenges of feeding a growing global population.

• Back in the Classroom: Students will write a short essay comparing the advantages and disadvantages of
trading and transporting foods over long distances.

BACKGROUND FOR EDUCATORS
Since the beginning of agriculture, food has frequently been consumed
far from the farm. It travels across a complicated network with
consequences for producers, distributers, consumers, and the plant and
animal species being traded, as well as for the environment.

BEFORE YOUR VISIT
Activity: Trade and Transportation
Objective: Students will explore the need for trading and transporting
food over long distances and reflect why the need arose. They will
consider some of the problems created by current practices, as well
as possible solutions.

Plan how your students will explore
the Our Global Kitchen exhibition
using the student worksheets.
Distribute the worksheets to the
students. You may want to review
the worksheets and the map of the
exhibition with them to make sure
they understand what they are to do.

1. Divide students into groups of four or five. Have each group discuss why they think humans started transporting
food, and write down four. Then have each group brainstorm the advantages and disadvantages of transporting
food over long distances and list four of each.
This can be opened up for class discussion and a comprehensive list can be written on the board.
2. Have students read “Food Distribution and Transport” (included at end of PDF) from the Johns Hopkins Center
for a Livable Future. Students can stay in groups but each student should read this article independently.

© 2012 American Museum of Natural History. All rights reserved.

amnh.org/our-global-kitchen

Have students choose a food from the market that is culturally important in another part of the world today (e. Vertical farming is a way to grow food where space is limited. Nature.) DURING YOUR VISIT Our Global Kitchen: Food. Culture 3rd floor (45 minutes) Students will visit the Grow section of the exhibition and observe how humans have created countless varieties of crops and livestock adapted to local conditions and grow food in a multitude of ways. Next. amnh. The essays should incorporate an in-depth examination of the strengths and limitations of current practices for transporting and distributing food. Weston Pavilion (15-30 minutes) In the Windowfarms display. © 2012 American Museum of Natural History. students will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of local. Using information synthesized from the background reading and gathered in the exhibition. system can be produced and distributed locally so environmental impact is limited.Activities for Grades 9–12 OUR GLOBAL KITCHEN Ask each group to answer the following questions: • Why is transporting food necessary today? (Answers may include: to feed densely populated areas that could not acquire enough food locally. small-scale food production and the challenges of feed a growing global population. transporting food over far distances contributes to climate change by burning fossil fuels) • Revisit the list of advantages and disadvantages brainstormed by each group earlier. to provide consumers with greater variety. Have students observe and ask questions. political and economic conditions) • What are some of the unintended consequences of food distribution and transport? Why do they come about? (Answers may include: small local producers cannot compete with large-scale producers and global distribution networks. soil. chocolate in Switzerland. cultural. and environmental impacts of trading and transporting food. (Answers will vary. students will visit the Trade section and continue to gather evidence of the economic. chili in Asia). tomatoes in Italy. Have them research where and when this food was originally domesticated and how and when it has been traded globally. at the Windowfarms display and to think about: • What food growing and trading challenges does vertical farming solve? (Answers may include: doesn’t require a lot of space/soil. Add to this list as a class. topography. as well as recommendations for the future.org/our-global-kitchen . Have students reassemble into the same small groups.g. Windowfarms 1st floor. Essays should include a case study from the Aztec market. All rights reserved. to capitalize on the productivity of certain agricultural areas) • What conditions allow some crops to be grown and or animals to be raised in specific locations? (Answers may include: climate. gives access to fresh food) • What challenges doesn’t it solve? (Answers may include: can’t feed lots of people. have them analyze the food trade. size and weight of plants is limited) BACK IN THE CLASSROOM Activity: Tying it All Together Objective: Students will synthesize the information they’ve gathered from background reading (see links) and the Museum exhibition for a short essay about global food distribution.

usda.com/nature/journal/v418/n6898/pdf/nature01019.gov/ • nrdc.org/food/wasted-food.org/our-global-kitchen . All rights reserved.org/ourglobalkitchen/more • nature. amnh.Activities for Grades 9–12 OUR GLOBAL KITCHEN Background Readings • amnh.pdf • ers.asp • Cambridge encyclopedia of food © 2012 American Museum of Natural History.

Grades 9–12 OUR GLOBAL KITCHEN Student Worksheet: Where Does Our Food Come From? Where Is It Going? Today you will observe how humans have created countless varieties of crops and livestock adapted to local conditions and raise food in a multitude of ways. vertical gardens. amnh. and environmental impacts of trading and transporting food. & “Future of Growing” cases All plants require water. soil) in order to thrive. All rights reserved.org/our-global-kitchen . Compare and contrast farming methods. Explore how and why foods move around the world. Food Top Importer Top Exporter What might be an economic impact (advantage or disadvantage) of the modern system of importing and exporting these products worldwide? © 2012 American Museum of Natural History. Agriculture mini-dioramas. GROW SECTION 1. cultural. light. and a growing medium (e. and gather evidence of the economic. What are some commodities that countries trade? What are the five most common foods imported and exported worldwide? Which countries are the top importers and exporters of each food? Use the chart.g. “Modern Markets” map & trade interactive Food might come from your garden — or from the other side of the world. What techniques help people farm successfully around the world? What are some challenges they face? How are farmers addressing these challenges? TRADE SECTION 2.

Where along this pipeline is most food wasted by high and middle-income countries? Where along this pipeline is most food wasted by low-income countries? What are the economic and environmental impacts of wasting food at any point along the pipeline? 5. Food Ships Kiosks Choose two foods from the interactive and track their trade. 6. How did the Aztecs use it? List other countries or cultures that are commonly associated with foods found in the Aztec marketplace today. Name some foods that are for sale. All rights reserved. why is one out of eight people around the world hungry? What are the cultural implications of this? © 2012 American Museum of Natural History. Too Little. Food Waste Examine the graphs and information on this wall panel. Aztec Marketplace Diorama Food and other items were carried to this capital city from all over the thriving Aztec Empire (now Mexico). amnh. If our food is traded widely and globally.org/our-global-kitchen . What common foods are missing? Why? Find chocolate in different forms in the marketplace. What might be an advantage and a disadvantage of each particular method of transport? Name of Crop Origins Destinations Advantage Disadvantage 4. Too Much Look for this wall panel beyond the kitchen in the exhibition.Grades 9–12 OUR GLOBAL KITCHEN 3.

depletes the soil) How are farmers addressing these challenges? (Answers may include: in densely populated urban areas farmers use rooftop garden beds. and gather evidence of the economic. wheat. What are some commodities that countries trade? (Answers may include: spices.) © 2012 American Museum of Natural History. vertical gardens. uses chemicals and a great deal of water. soy beans. processed foods. it means there is a demand for products they produce. & “Future of Growing” cases All plants require water.org/our-global-kitchen . and a growing medium (e. amnh. Disadvantage: Long-distance transport is not good for the environment because of fossil fuel emissions. Food Top Importer Top Exporter A: Banana A: USA A: n/a A: Maize A: Japan A: USA A: Soy beans A: China A: Brazil A: Wheat A: Germany A: France A: Beer A: n/a A: Netherlands What might be an economic impact (advantage or disadvantage) of the modern system of importing and exporting these products worldwide? (Answers may include: Advantage: Trade helps the economies of countries exporting foods worldwide. and environmental impacts of trading and transporting food. GROW SECTION 1. Compare and contrast farming methods. animals. If the world is depending on only 4 or 5 main crops. “Modern Markets” map & trade interactive Food might come from your garden — or from the other side of the world. Agriculture mini-dioramas. Explore how and why foods move around the world.g. vertical gardens. soil) in order to thrive. light. fuel) What are the five most common foods imported and exported worldwide? (Answers may include: bananas. we may be at risk of depleting them. and hydroponic technology) TRADE SECTION 2. cultural. What techniques help people farm successfully around the world? What are some challenges they face? (Answers may include: large-scale farming produces high yields at relatively low prices.Grades 9–12 OUR GLOBAL KITCHEN Student Worksheet: Where Does Our Food Come From? Where Is It Going? ANSWER KEY Today you will observe how humans have created countless varieties of crops and livestock adapted to local conditions and raise food in a multitude of ways. beer) Which countries are the top importers and exporters of each food? Use the chart. All rights reserved. maize.

Name some foods that are for sale.org/our-global-kitchen . Japan. exporting chilled meat is hard and expensive to preserve for long trips. amnh. Where along this pipeline is most food wasted by high and middle-income countries? (Answer: consumption) Where along this pipeline is most food wasted by low-income countries? (Answer: post-harvest handling) What are the economic and environmental impacts of wasting food at any point along the pipeline? (Answer: More than 30% of food (or 1. tribute to conquerors. If our food is traded widely and globally. Too Little. chicken. frozen meat sells for less money than chilled meat. All rights reserved. offerings to gods) List other countries or cultures that are commonly associated with foods found in the Aztec marketplace today. What might be an advantage and a disadvantage of particular method of transport? Name of Crop Origins Destinations ANSWER KEY Advantage Disadvantage A: Banana A: Central and South America A: Japan. Too Much Look for this wall panel beyond the kitchen in the exhibition. (Answers may include: Italy and tomatoes. Switzerland and chocolate) 6. this is a waste of fertile land used to grow the food as well as unnecessary carbon emissions released into the environment from transporting food over long distances. but consumers pay more as well 4. Food Ships Kiosks Choose two foods from the interactive and track their trade. Environmentally.43 billion tons) never gets eaten. and ship food. cheese. How did the Aztecs use it? (Answers may include: as a beverage. shipping without a bag saves money A: chilling bananas for long trips can cause damage to fruit. tomatoes. Food Waste Examine the graphs and information on this wall panel. but also costs less to ship A: shipping chilled meat is a trade off between retail price and shipping cost. they weren’t produced locally and had yet to reach the region via trade) Find chocolate in different forms in the marketplace. corn) What common foods are missing? Why? (Answers may include: bread. why is one out of eight people around the world hungry? What are the cultural implications of this? © 2012 American Museum of Natural History. Russia A: ripening can be delayed by picking green bananas.Grades 9–12 OUR GLOBAL KITCHEN 3. North America A: shipping after processing is good for preservation if meat is kept chilled or frozen. this is a waste of money spent to grow. shipping without a bag causes the bananas to ripen faster A: Lamb A: New Zealand A: Europe. Aztec Marketplace Diorama Food and other items were carried to this capital city from all over the thriving Aztec Empire (now Mexico). Economically.) 5. (Answers may include: peppers. harvest. which have an extended life for long trips. currency.